What is the Migrant Education Program?
Migrant Education is a national program that provides supplemental educational services to eligible migrant children in the United States. The Migrant Education Program (MEP) is designed to "support high-quality and comprehensive educational programs for migratory children to help reduce the educational disruptions and other problems that result from repeated moves" [No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), Section 1301.1]. These programs are always supplemental in nature, and can be academic and/or social in focus. Activities are meant to help eligible migrant children "overcome educational disruption, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, various health-related problems, and other factors that inhibit the ability of such children to do well in school" [NCLB, Section 1301.5]. The uniqueness of this national program lies in its focus on the mobility of migrant children, particularly the most mobile migrant children who are failing to meet the high academic content and achievement standards expected of all students in a state. To that end, Section 1304(d) of NCLB mandates that these children have the highest priority for services from the MEP.
Why Give Special Help To Migrant Children?
The primary purpose of the Migrant Education Program is to address the special educational needs of migratory children in a coordinated, integrated, and efficient way, through high quality and comprehensive programs. When migrant children move with their families, their education, as well as their lives, is disrupted, often many times a year. Migrant children may come from large families with inadequate housing and low incomes. Poor nutrition and unsanitary conditions may also cause health problems. Migrant children may have limited English skills and/or little experience with success at school. These problems, combined with irregular school attendance, often lead to low academic performance, causing many migrant children to drop out of school in their teens. Migrant youth may face unemployment or limited options. Caring parents may not know about community and school resources which could help their children. However, we can help these children enjoy school and overcome these difficulties. The Migrant Education Program can help them succeed in school and develop their skills and options for the future.
Title I, Part C (Education of Migratory Children) has as its purpose to assist states to:
- Support high-quality and comprehensive educational programs for migratory children to help reduce the educational disruptions and other problems that result from repeated moves.
- Ensure that migratory children are provided with appropriate educational services (including supportive services) that address their special needs in a coordinated and efficient manner.
- Ensure that migratory children have the opportunity to meet the same challenging State content standards and challenging State student performance standards that all children are expected to meet.
- design programs to help migratory children overcome educational disruption, cultural and language barriers, social isolation, various health-related problems, and other factors that inhibit the ability of such children to do well in school, and to prepare such children to make a successful transition to postsecondary education or employment; and ensure that migratory children benefit from State and local systemic reforms.
Code Section 1301
What Makes A Child Eligible?
To qualify for the Migrant Education Program, a migrant child must have moved within the past 36 months across state or school district lines to enable the child, the child's guardian or a member of the child's family to obtain temporary or seasonal employment in an agricultural or fishing activity. A migratory child includes youth who themselves are migratory workers or spouses of migratory workers. The program serves children and youth ages 3 through 21 who have not graduated from high school or earned a General Education Diploma.
How is the Migrant Program Administered in Georgia?
The U.S. Department of Education allocates funds to the individual states based on each state's identified migrant population. Georgia allocates funds to school systems enrolling migrant children to provide special services to the children. Priority for services is based on migrant children whose education has been interrupted during the school year and who are failing or at risk of failing to meet Georgia's content and performance standards. States work together to ensure continuity, coordination and consistency for the children. Local programs may vary according to student needs and school resources.